With The Country Network, HMS has gained a demanding client that is a national broadcast television network. "Under extremely tight deadlines HMS created a unique solution combining disparate technologies into one solution", said Warren Hansen, founder and CEO of TCN, "HMS exceeded our expectations when, within a live environment, solved issues related to other project partners while maintaining our live broadcast presence". The goal is establishing a network of 150 playout servers, each of them broadcasting a localized playlist, and each of them only connected with a standard internet connection. Frank Mistol, CEO of HMS said, "With the ability of using low-priced public internet connections we could dramatically decreases the running costs of TCN."
For scheduling and traffic management, HMS has interfaces with multiple CMS systems from the US's largest provider, Harris OSI Traffic, to other systems like Germany's Step2e. Playlist files and video assets are dropped on the HMS server, where they are checked for consistency and sent out to the head ends. If the head end loses internet connection, it is able to work independently until the connection is reestablished.
The integrated character generator enables the playout to directly communicate with EAS decoders. "One requirement for The Country Network was the integration of the EAS system. HMS's direct interface to the affiliated Harris, TFT and Digital Alert Systems EAS boxes saved us not only substantial dollars but time and limited rack space.", said Warren Hansen, "Without the crawl generators the solution would have failed".
Today, The Country Network is the only cable TV broadcast network that is streaming a live 24/7/365 feed over the internet, iPhone, iPad, and mobile devices. A web-shop for concert tickets and albums is planned, too. Warren Hansen said, "We love working with HMS because of their expertise, the German quality and the great service. They don't stop until they have a solution, despite the cause or the origin!"
The Country Network is headquartered in Boca Raton Florida with offices in Nashville, Tennessee in the heart of Music Row. The station launched on October 2010 and is currently available on 41 TV stations. The Country Network's slogan is "It's Your Country". The network's playlist of country music videos extends from the 1980s through today. It is a music video network and as such airs country music videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Its content is presented by today's greatest artists and includes artist liners and interviews.
Update (November 2013)
In the meantime the name TCN was changed to ZUUS Country and the operator ZUUS Media launched additional channels for other music genres. HMS currently provides playout technology for 75 ZUUS affiliates in total. These include the channels ZUUS Country, ZUUS Latino, ZUUS Hits and ZUUS R&B.
For more information about ZUUS Media, please visit: www.zuus.com